Alternate Histories: Oblong Books & Music, 6/2/16

I gave a reading at Oblong Books and Music, the bookstore I went to and bought books at when I was growing up, and I invited the audience to write alternate histories for each other’s climate anxieties. These are what they shared with each other and with me.

As with the climate anxieties people share at the booth, I want to make it clear that I don’t endorse these, necessarily: rather, they’re expressions of what people are able to imagine for each other, part of the picture of how people are thinking, and what they think change and responsibility and possibility are.

 

CLIMATE ANXIETY: Less rain, water will become more and more scarce, more droughts, harder to garden, grow food and bathe.

ALTERNATE HISTORY: I read an article in the Times that some MIT student resorted to Kickstarter to get funding for his Rainmaker. No conventional grant givers were interested, since they don’t believe in global warming. But on his own, he made it rain on the farms in California last month, and he’s on a path to everywhere. He tested it first in his own garden. It does not require clouds, or even sky. Sometimes where there is a quirky smart guy, there is a way.

 

*

CLIMATE ANXIETY: I fear that in the next 50 years, 100s of millions of people will die because of climate change–what will happen to compassion?

ALTERNATE HISTORY: In the process of losing everything, people will suddenly awaken to their true nature as children, and will make their first priority to go outside each morning, kiss the ground and then bring something yummy to their neighbor. All extras will be brought together and shared as needed.

*

CLIMATE ANXIETY: Losing my inherent instinctual connection to nature because of habitat and/or species loss such that when looking at my cat one day we both realize something crucially important is gone even as this loss bridges a potentially powerful and unknown connection between us.

ALTERNATE HISTORY: Knowing the love and connection you have to nature, do not dismay. Mother Nature thrives and survives, is deeper and more regenerative than our comprehension. The ecosystems which may be dwindling now create an environment for an evolved version of its ancestor.

*

CLIMATE ANXIETY: My child is too gentle, kind and anxious to survive in this harsh, harsh world

ALTERNATE HISTORY: “Global” anxiety may be at an all-time high, with resultant aggressive and defensive emotions and behaviors by [adults? illegible] in difficult situations around the world. The only saving grace for society, some will realize, belatedly, is to foster a new tenderness and gentleness in children. Your child will be an ideal person to help others in pain and denial. The talents of your child/growing adult will be more and more valued with each year that passes. A child of peace grows into an adult of mercy, compassion, love and health. It is only from such souls that the cosmos continues. NB: A delicate perennial may appear too vulnerable to possibly survive the predatory vicious freeze of an intense northern winter, but survive it does–and can re-emerge next spring even more lush and powerfully beautiful than before.

*

CLIMATE ANXIETY: Political corruption is everywhere. Politicians working to better themselves and not the common people are everywhere. We can’t do much about this.

ALTERNATE HISTORY: 3 children in a desert devise a mind-altering “helmet” that is so beautiful, everyone needs to put it on. It tells the wearer to share, not thinking about rewards. Soon, everyone has all they need. All feel compelled to uplift, educate, feed, heal, comfort … la dee dah.

*

CLIMATE ANXIETY: I fear the powerful corporations that produce much of our food because so much of it contains things like sugar that bring on diabetes; individually people suffer and require medical care.

ALTERNATE HISTORY: There have always been toxins (although we have not always been aware of them). Life did go on–perhaps in forms yet unknown to us–but it survived–and we will–but we might not recognize now what it will be then. I only wish I could visit then to see now what will be–

*

CLIMATE ANXIETY:

– Werewolves in the White House

– Death camps for dissenters

– Disappearance of hedgehogs

ALTERNATE HISTORY: In the same way that smoking in public places went from being desirable to nearly gone, those who have the sensitivity for compassion will overcome their fears and provide safety and kindness.

*

CLIMATE ANXIETY: I’m worried that we don’t teach our children enough self-love and compassion, and that we let magic and imagination not take enough importance.

ALTERNATE HISTORY: In this world you cannot succeed. You are not helped to jump over the wall–you are helped to laugh at the wall or sing to it. You never want to win or get it or manage it. You never think it is now compared to then. Everything is liquid and inviting and sweet and amusing.

*

CLIMATE ANXIETY: In a world of resource abundance, I feel hopeless that some take so much without caring [for] those who need.

ALTERNATE HISTORY: People will share what they have. New resources will replace old resources, no longer needed.

*

CLIMATE ANXIETY: My anxiety is that people will never stop thinking that time is what they think it is. My anxiety is that everyone will forever be imprisoned–trapped–by the idea that it is now.

ALTERNATE HISTORY: One day, the sun rose and every single person rose to greet it. People woke up and breathed in peace and felt peace. And exuded peace to each other and all of life on the planet. And every single living thing sang the song it was born to sing.

*

CLIMATE ANXIETY: My fear is that we will run out of drinkable water in the foreseeable future.

ALTERNATE HISTORY: Drinking water is being synthesized from the rising sea–billions of gallons of fresh water pours from international spigots. Everyone bathes three times a day and drinks all they want.

 

 

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An Alternate History by Rolando Huerta: 12/18/15

Earlier in the year, I asked some writers I know if they’d be willing to write an alternate history for this project in response to a climate anxiety I’d gathered at the booth. You can read some of the other ones by Rachel Schapira, Rachel Schapira again, Ethan Robinson, Mia Hooper and Janaya Kizzie. If you think you might like to write one, let me know. This one just came in, and is by Rolando Huerta; the date at the top refers to the date the story was posted.

12/18/15

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

WESTERN DISTRICT OF RHODE ISLAND

EASTERN DIVISION

 

SARAH RICHARDS-MALKOVICH and .   Docket No. 1111-ACV-192735-JCSAC

TAYLOR MALKOVICH, IV,        .

.

Plaintiffs,              .   Providence, Rhode Island

.   Monday, July 9, 2057

  1. .   9:00 a.m.

.

STATE OF RHODE ISLAND        .

DEPT. CLIMATE CONTROL,       .

DEPT. GEOENGINEERING, et al,.

Defendants.              .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .

 

VOLUME I

TRANSCRIPT OF TRIAL

BEFORE THE HONORABLE JOANNE C. SOLOMON

UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE, and a jury.

 

APPEARANCES:

 

For the Plaintiffs:          Nixon & Carmicle, S.C.

By: MAXSON R. CONNOLLY, ESQ.

42 East Midland Street, Suite 18

Warwick, RI 02887

(411) 929-9911

 

For the Defendants:          State Attorney General’s Office

By: ANSOLM CLARK SABRAHAR, ESQ.

JOHN P. FONTELLE, ESQ.

P.O. Box 78570

Warwick, RI 02887-7857

(411) 294-9544

 

Court Recorder:              Carmen DuPont

District Court Clerk’s Office

1 Exchange St, Room 320

Providence, RI 02903

(411) 244-5156

 

Transcription Service:       Blankpunkt Reporting Co.

801 North Verdaccio Street

Providence, RI 02907

(411) 722-7428

 

Proceedings recorded by electronic sound recording;

transcript produced by transcription service.

 

INDEX

 

OPENING STATEMENT:                                     Page

 

On behalf of the Plaintiffs, by Mr. Connolly            3

On behalf of the Defendants, by Mr. Sabrahar           12

 

Further

WITNESSES FOR THE     Direct Cross Redirect Recross Redirect

PLAINTIFFS:

Bernadette A. Clay       25     49

Louis Fishbourne         70     92     75     129

 

WITNESSES FOR THE

DEFENDANTS:

Malcom Morgan           102   156 (Voir Dire)

Simon S. Moody           108   177

MOTION: Mr. Sabrahar   111 Denied   112

MOTION: Ms. Kennelly   118 Denied   115

 

EXHIBITS:                                     Marked Received

 

1 – Morgan affidavit and extra damages         29     29

summary

2 – Additional extra damages list             38     40

3 – Performance appraisals, 2053 – 2056,       60     64

Smythe-Richards

4 – Performance appraisals, 2047 – 2056,       75     —

Moody

 

ARGUMENT: Mr. Connolly                               165

RESPONSE: Mr. Sabrahar                               172

 

 

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, MONDAY, JULY 9, 2057, 9:00 A.M.

(Call to Order of the Court.)

THE COURT: Good morning, everyone. Let’s call in the jury, unless there are matters to consider first. Mr. Connolly?

  1. CONNOLLY: No, Your Honor, we’re ready.
  2. SABRAHAR: We have nothing to take up right now, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Good. Mr. Bailiff, please bring the jury from their waiting room.

(Proceedings continued in the presence of the jury.)

THE COURT: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Our first order of business will be brief statements of what this case is all about by Mr. Connolly and Mr. Sabrahar, whom you met yesterday during the jury selection process. Mr. Connolly will speak to you first.

Please proceed, Mr. Connolly.

  1. CONNOLLY: Thank you, Your Honor.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, this is an unusual case, in that we are here to decide whether the long accepted Weather Modification Act should continue to be implemented in the State of Rhode Island. Moreover, we are here to decide whether the State of Rhode Island is directly responsible for the tragic death of a Ms. Elizabeth Malkovich, eleven year old daughter of Sarah and Taylor Malkovich.

Particularly in question is whether the release of cloud-seeding aerosols, such as silver iodide, by Rhode Island’s Departments of Climate Control and Geoengineering directly or indirectly contributed to flooding in West Providence, which occurred at approximately 10:30 AM on the morning of September 5, 2056. This flash flood left thousands without a home, and even more people were left without running water and electricity; it caused over one hundred and fifty million dollars in damage. Worse yet, it took young Ms. Malkovich’s life. She was trapped and drowned at her school that morning. The very building housing teachers educating her on the Global Climate Control Initiative, and the importance of weather modification, Rhode Island’s premier charter school, the Casey-Anne Institute, became this child’s watery grave. And how compelling it is that we be here this morning to discuss this matter and reach the right verdict.

The long since tenured practice of cloud seeding was publicly instituted at the height of our climate change anxiety in the twenty-twenties, 2025 to be exact, and overturned the Clean Water Act of the twentieth century. It has been said that the Weather Modification Act of 2025 is responsible for over 10,000 accidental flooding deaths in the U.S.A. every year since its passing. It’s time that once and for all those responsible for such senseless and negligent policies of death, have their day in court, and that the State of Rhode Island suspend its implementation of the Weather Modification Act of 2025. Further, that restitution and damages be sought and awarded to the Plaintiff, may the jury reach the right decision.

We should do this for Ms. Elizabeth Malkovich, who did not deserve to die at the tender age of eleven, especially, at the hands of those who are tasked with protecting each and every one of us. We should do this not only for the Malkovich family, present today, but for all those parents not present today, who want to see their own children outlive themselves. Members of the Jury, I do not know whether any of you have children, but I do, and I do not want the Rhode Island Departments of Climate Control and Geoengineering to kill them, not by intent, nor by accident, and certainly not by negligent policy.

 

  1. CONNOLLY: I’d like to call Ms. Clay.

THE COURT: Raise your right hand, madam, and the clerk will administer the oath.

BERNADETTE A. CLAY, PLAINTIFFS’ WITNESS, SWORN

THE CLERK: State and spell your name for the record.

THE WITNESS: Bernadette A. Clay, C-L-A-Y.

THE CLERK: Be seated.

DIRECT EXAMINATION

BY MR. CONNOLLY:

  1. Do you know either of the plaintiffs in this case, Mr. Taylor Malkovich or Mrs. Richards-Malkovich?
  2. Yes, I do know them both.
  3. And what is your relationship?
  4. I taught their daughter, Liz, third grade calculus at Casey-Anne.
  5. How long have you been teaching at the Casey-Anne Institute?
  6. For twenty-three years now. Yes, I’ve been teaching at Casey-Anne since 2034.
  7. Was there anything unusual about the week of September 5, 2056?
  8. Well, yes. On that Monday the 4th [9/4/56], an overwhelming majority, ninety-five per cent, of our students, and ninety per cent of all Rhode Islanders, as I recall, voted for sunny weather, not rain. We were supposed to have [long pause] sunny weather all week.

[mixed voices]

 

Alternate Histories by Other People: 10/15, 10/15

This is the second of two alternate histories from the Alliance of Artists’ Communities conference: the climate anxiety comes from one person, and the alternate history from another person, neither of whom are me. Here’s the first one.

10/15/15

All my favorite beaches are gonna disappear. I scuba-dive, and I can see that it’s already changing. The coral reefs are bleaching, the diversity is disappearing. I don’t see all the schools of fish that I used to see even ten years ago. And the other thing is in Colorado–the pine beetles, the dead trees.

*

10/15/15

While the building of islands in Dubai has seemed nothing but exploitative and blatantly, disrespectfully selfish, new technology for curbing erosion and inspiring reclamation of beaches and coral reefs is discovered. International relations are improved by this partnership to bring this new venture to other countries. Ecological restoration becomes lucrative and a driving force of industry–balance of resources the new paradigm.

Alternate Histories by Other People: 10/14, 10/15

This is one of two alternate histories from the Alliance of Artists’ Communities conference: the climate anxiety comes from one person, and the alternate history from another person, neither of whom are me.

10/14/15

I’m worried about people in developing countries who are already having trouble getting water, or food–everything that they need. We’re a rich country, we’ll be able to help ourselves. It just feels so unfair. They’re not the ones causing it–we rich nations are causing it, and they’re the ones who are gonna suffer for it.

*

10/15/15

Despite the physical distance between places on the planet, residents on one side feel the real, deep, even cellular-level connection among all beings and things on the planet. We think consciously how we can provide for each other as we see ourselves in the other–we are one. Human consciousness has been raised.